MPs allowed using vernaculars in Parliament -Katjavivi

WINDHOEK- Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi says Members of Parliament can use vernacular languages during proceedings, provided that adequate provision is made for translation.

The quest for MPs to express themselves in local languages follows President Hage Geingob's call during the recent opening of the seventh session of the sixth parliament for lawmakers to improve the quality of debates in Parliament.

Many on social media reasoned that some parliamentarians with great ideas refrain from the debates due to the language barriers � because of English being the country's official medium of communication.

But, quoting Rule 120 (1), Katjavivi said: The official language of the Assembly shall be English, but at the same time Rule 120 (2) states the Speaker may authorise the use of another language, provided that adequate provision is made for translation.

In other words, arrangements can be made for MPs to speak in their vernaculars provided such a request is forwarded to the Speaker in good time, he said upon enquiry recently.

Leader of the official opposition PDM, McHenry Venaani, recently called for action against non-participation in parliamentary debate by some MPs, saying the house currently has parliamentarians who have virtually been warming up benches over the past four years.

He said some parliamentarians have over the past four years only contributed once or twice to debates, saying they were a disservice to their constituencies.

The biggest issue in our National Assembly is the fact that we have increased from 72 to 98 but the majority of those whose numbers were increased are half of the time very quiet. Yes, the issue of truancy must be addressed, but the biggest issue of non-participation must also be addressed, said the outspoken leader of the official opposition at the


We are sitting with an idle parliament � if PDM does not really keep Parliament on its toes the rest of many MPs will rarely speak once on the budget, or never. Half of the ruling party MPs are quiet, it must be put on record; the only Swapo MPs that are busy are the executive, others are quiet, he added.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia